This is Yukkuri demasu...
DISCLAIMER: I don’t guarantee that I translate 100% correct....So helping hand is welcome!
ALSO IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT BELOW.
Chapter 24: Desperate Financial Situation
In a room made from stone and illuminated by candle light, Nelson was sitting on a chair as he stared intensely at the large map of his domain that was unrolled atop of his desk work.
On the left side of the desk, his wife Zirconia scanned the parchment she held in her right hand.
Zirconia was wearing only a light red tunic in a relaxed manner, while Nelson was wearing a collared patterned shirt and high quality trousers, furthermore a pale brown mantle. This was his attire that he always put on when he was dealing with a visitor.
This room was Nelson’s office. It was the same room where he received the report about Grisea Village from Isaac a few days ago.
It was just past noon, outside the sun violently asserted its place in the sky however, since this room didn’t have windows, the sunlight couldn’t be felt.
On the corner of the desk were several unfolded sheets of documents containing things like the latest information within the territory or the report on the trend of another country that Zirconia had pulled off from the shelf.
「The completion of the north side of the protective wall is about 60%. The east and west side are about 40%. The south side was maybe about 30%, I think.」(Zirconia)
Zirconia said this while she placed the parchment in her hand onto the pile of other documents on the corner of the desk.
「Will the completion of the protective wall be finished just before the armistice treaty is expired?」(Nelson)
Murmured Nelson, to which Zirconia replied with a nod, “That’s right.”
「Since the fief population was increased by thousands every year because of the immigration from the other lords’ fief, I think the protective wall will be finished in time based on our manpower. But only if Gregorn territory in the west and Fraise territory in the south send food aids, and the royal family gives tax exemption and support by sending money, that is.」(Zirconia)
「....... You think we can continue?」(Nelson)
Nelson raised his face from staring at the map and looked at Zirconia who stood in front of him.
Zirconia who received Nelson’s gaze, took several sheets of documents from the pile on the desk corner and lined them up in front of Nelson.
「Food aids from Fraise territory have increased to some extent. However, food aids from Gregorn territory have undergone a sudden reduction.」(Zirconia)
Nelson examine the documents that were lined up, and just like what Zirconia had explained, food aids from Gregorn territory had underwent a sudden reduction.
The reason for the sudden reduction was attached to the document. It looks like a famine had breakout on Gregorn territory.
「Dias-dono also has hardships....As for this, there is no other choice than to return the people from construction works back into food production.....」 (Nelson)
From the day the armistice treaty with Balveile was signed into effect until the present day, for Nelson’s territory rather than agricultural reclamation, their domestic affairs were more focused in building construction works like fortresses alongside the border with Balveile or the protective wall surrounding Isteria.
Although the situation had gone comparatively well up until last year, this year’s drought brought large scale famine due to food shortage in the territory. For the last several months, by imperial edict, the other territories were sending food aids to Nelson’s territory.
Even normally, Isteria received the food for the inflated population for no additional compensation from the other fiefs. However the current outbreak of severe famine was on such an unprecedented scale, that the food amount became insufficient.
Nevertheless, with the recently diminished food aids from Gregorn territory, it was a situation where a judgment should be made about whether or not there should be a change on the first policy about putting construction works of defense facilities as its topmost priority.
「That’s true...... However, we can’t decrease the personnel that are assigned on the border fortress, since without the fortress we can’t stop a large army from Balveile. On the contrary, besides the fortress that is being constructed now, we need at least 2 more of them. If we don’t send additional personnel, we might end up with hellish scene 4 years from now.」(Zirconia)
Reading the documents, Nelson couldn’t help to spit out his complaining words. Then after hearing Zirconia words, he let out a long sigh.
「Though I treasure that opinion, if we do such things, then even before the war with Balveile recommences, our territory will be already turned into a starving hell, since there is a devastating food shortage. Given that in the next year thousands of people from another fief will come, if it’s become impossible for them to support themselves, won’t they lose everything? Besides, there is a possibility that before armistice treaty expires, a peace agreement might be signed.」(Nelson)
「...... Can we increase the food import from Craylutz?」(Zirconia)
「I already check the preliminary calculation. Even assuming we increase the amount of lumber production and copper or tin mining for export and exchanged them to import a large amount of food, in the long term we can expect the shortage of material goods albeit temporarily. Besides, even if we buy that food as a temporary measure, if on the next time there is a drought occurred just like this time, we won’t be able to survive. If we cut the forest indiscriminately, it might be not recover enough even if the rain seasons came. I understand Zil’s words, but if by any chance the war restart and by that time we don’t have food, there will be no point. Please consent with me in this」(Nelson)
Hearing Nelson words, Zirconia closed her eyes and thought over it for while. She let out a small sigh and opened her eyes.
「As for the cause of putting off domestic affairs of territory and instead prioritizing preparation for war.... it is my responsibility.」(Zirconia)
After entering an armistice treaty with Balveile, Isteria territory pressed forward a policy that put military preparation at the fore, like constructing defensive positions or increasing army strength sufficiency rather than its domestic affairs.
Nelson himself wanted to put food production or reconstruction support as the first priority of his territory, however, it was his wife Zirconia who firmly advocated that they ought to increase their war preparations.
Of course, the other leaders in Isteria territory including Nelson...... excluding military personnel, everyone was completely against it, however, Zirconia stubbornly advocated it herself and didn’t concede on it.
After all, Zirconia persistently explained that considering Balveile’s war potential and its ability to continue the war, if by the time the armistice treaty expired and the territory army scale hadn’t changed it would be disastrous. Because of this, the majority of people who opposed her at first, reluctantly consented because Nelson gave his agreement.
Thanks to this the military budget increased drastically at first, however Zirconia herself thought that this amount was still not enough.
「No, Zil’s claim is justified. Besides, up until now famine has occurred several times, but this harsh famine is the first. I think that this famine maybe as bad as the famine some century ago. This is outside what you can predict.」(Nelson)
Every year, in Arcadian nations, small scale famines or floods happened frequently, however presently he large scale famine was something happening for the first time in hundreds of years.
If they had put the first priority on domestic affair, the current situation might be more or less preferable, but either way every place might still have suffered large damage.
「That’s true.... But I regret that I couldn’t come out with some countermeasure beforehand. Furthermore, if the famine is this terrible, then just like the legend, Greysior-sama might appear and rescue us.」(Zirconia)
As Zirconia said this somewhat jokingly, Nelson leaned his back on the back of the chair he sat on and made a bitter smile.
「Oioi, if it’s that story, then the feudal lord would be killed by the peasants, right? Spare me from that....」(Nelson)
Zirconia slipped out a chuckle at Nelson who made a bitter smile as she took out a sheet with information about Balveile from the piled up documents on the desk’s corner.
「You will be fine. You are different from the one in the legend, since Isteria house never did something that could incurs peasants’ enmity. Leaving that aside, can you take a look at this?」(Zirconia)
Nelson received the document presented to him and quickly looked over it roughly, and with a small furrow in his brow he groaned.
「They negotiated a peace with some of the barbarians?...... This is not good. This is really not good.」(Nelson)
What does “Barbarians” mean? It is a generic name for the tribes that inhabited the region located north of Balveile.
The tribes of the so called Barbarians didn’t tand united in their actions, fellow tribes frequently had territorial conflicts with each other, and they almost had no concept that can be called a nation.
As the aftereffects of those territorial conflicts, the Barbarians descended to Balveile with the intention to attack and take over Balveile’s territory for their own to live in. For the last ten years, Balveile was plagued by this.
However, recently Balveile had succeeded in negotiating a peace with some parts of Barbarians tribes.
「Yes, with the lessening of threat from the north, they could launch an invasion on the countries in the southern Arcadia without worry. In the previous war Balveile was fighting on two fronts, so the next war will be considerably severe for us.」(Zirconia)
「If they could gain total control of us, in the south is the Ocean. Without the need to be worried about their rear, they could turn their whole attention to the nearby continent..... I understand. We will maintain the number of personnel in border fortress construction at status quo. I will also work out a solution as quick as possible to allocate the needed personnel to construct another fortress. However, the city’s defense wall construction will cease completely and the people who worked in the construction would be turned to food production. Please inform this to the military officer, Zil. I will tell the civil officials.」(Nelson)
Hearing those words, Zirconia smiled sweetly.
「Thank you. We will not lose easily if there is a fortress. Please leave the rest to me.」(Zirconia)
After Zirconia said this, she bended at the waist and kissed Nelson.
Receiving Zil’s reply like this, Nelson made a wry smile in mild surprise.
「Good grief, I don’t know for what reason I am referred as Arcadian’s Shield. Rather shouldn’t it better for Zil to be called that?」(Nelson)
「What are you saying? I couldn’t handle domestic affairs, military affairs, and diplomacy at the same time. If only by military affairs, we wouldn’t be able to protect the country. That’s why that nickname suits Anata more.」(Zirconia)
Zirconia said that and smiled once again to Nelson before saying see you later and left the room.
Nelson stared at the door that Zirconia passed when she left the room for awhile, took a deep breath for a moment to psyche himself, and began to write instructional documents for his subordinates.
At the time Nelson and Zirconia were busy with their work, Kazura and Valetta were squatting down together in the residence’s garden. They were giving fertilizer to the peppermint seedling plant pots.
Nearby those two were paper bags of empty plant pots and herb seed bags that Kazura had purchased in Japan.
「Before it was dried, it already had a nice scent. It’s different from the herb tea that we drank yesterday, this is somehow cool and refreshing.」(Valetta)
While Valetta was putting fertilizer with gardening shovel in the peppermint plant pots her nose twitched from their unique scent.
「Even if they are not dried, they can already be used to make tea as is. The tea made from this is also delicious.」(Kazura)
For confirming if there was transformation on the fertilizer effect, he orchased 2 types of herbs. Only the peppermints received fertilizer, while the lemongrasses were left as they were.
With doing so, he could compare each growth to the other.
Kazura confirmed that Valetta had finished putting the fertilizer on the peppermint, and then he took out empty plant pots and herb seed bags from the paper bag.
「Now then, the next work is planting these seeds.」(Kazura)
「Ah, let me put the soil.」(Valetta)
Although for the growth condition experiment using only seedlings were sufficient, but since he had bought a lot of seeds, he decided to raise them all at the same time in this place.
There were different kinds of seeds; the ones that were raised in the pot would receive fertilizer, while the ones that were planted on the ground wouldn’t.
Assuming that if by any chance the seeds, which were planted in the ground, had massive growth, he had make some kind of flower bed with wood boards so they wouldn’t spread out excessively. The more he raised it the more he could harvest. So, if it had explosive growth, Kazura would feel happy, since if it was possible he wanted to share the harvest with the other villagers.
「Hmm... There are few seeds that could be planted in the summer. Only basil and arugula, huh?」(Kazura)
He look at the reference chart of planting season description on the seed bags while sorting the seed bags that could be planted.
Most of the seeds had planting season of between April to May, or from September to October. There were few seeds that could be planted on August.
「Kazura-san, it was written on this paper that Rosemary or Lemongrass can be planted in summer as long as they are under the cool shade.」(Valetta)
When Kazura was going to open the basil seeds bag, Valetta who had read the paper that mentioned the herb raising method that she took from the paper bag, picked up the rosemary and lemongrass seed bags on the ground.
「Yes, it’s written in here.」(Valetta)
He took a peek on the paper from beside Valetta, surely enough it was written in beautiful handwritten letter 「It’s a seed that can grow in the summer as long as they are under cool shade.」
「Oh, it’s true..... How should I put it, since when was Valetta-san able to read my country letter so well like this? Isn’t it just 10 days after you started to begin learning it?」(Kazura)
「Fufu, the more I learn it the more I remember, because it will be enjoyable to be able read books that Kazura-san brought, I stay up during the night a little to learn. Are you surprised?」(Valetta)
Hearing Valetta’s words, Kazura was astonished in his heart.
What an awe-inspiring learning ability, to be able read the letters she never seen before in just 10 days.
Anyhow, Japanese language’s was written with a mixed of hiragana, Kanji and katakana, so it was difficult to understand.
If she didn’t had a very good memory and on top of that, a motivation to learn, then it wouldn’t be possible for her to learn it on such short time.
「Ah, it maybe that, your motivation is higher than others, huh?」(Kazura)
「My motivation is higher than others.」(Valetta)
Although they were talking over this, those 2 people side by side diligently put the fertilizer on the plant pots. They also till the dug up soil on the shaded part of garden.
While they were talking about herbs or village, they continued their work leisurely. In the middle of their talk, incidentally Valetta turned her face to Kazura.
「Somehow, this is very fun.」(Valetta)
「Yes, this is fun.」(Kazura)
And like that, those 2 people smiled together, once again they were talking while continued their work planting the seed.
On the night of the same day.
Like usual Kazura was together with Valin and Valetta surrounding the hearth for dinner.
The menu for this evening was rice with dried plum, and stir fried vegetables, mushroom, and sausage (from the canned food that Kazura brought).
The meal companion was a beverage of herb tea with German chamomile as the base.
「Then, I wonder if by any chance the herbs planted today will greatly grown?」(Valin)
「If it matched with this country soil then I think perhaps it will grow with amazing vigor. But well, since it’s just like grass I believe it will grow normally.」(Kazura)
The subject of the conversation was the herbs that Kazura and Valetta had planted this noon.
Last night, Valin didn’t received a detailed explanation about planting herbs, so while they were eating, they were also talking about it.
「Since it was something that Kazura brought, I think it will grow splendidly.」(Valetta)
「Yes, that’s true.」(Valin)
As he looked at two people who enjoyed drinking herb tea, Kazura made a wry smile.
Although Kazura was certain that the crops that received the fertilizer he had brought would have sudden growth, it doesn’t mean that it would certainly apply to the herbs that he had brought over his time.
However, well, even if the herbs had sudden growth like the crops in this world, since herbs weren’t that different from common grass they could easily grow up.
「Ah, that’s right, I brought something good for Valin-san. Please wait a moment.」(Kazura)
Kazura said that and then stood up, before returning to his room.
Then he quickly came back with his objective item in his hand, the sake.
The label was written with 「Masumi – Pure Rice, Very Special Brew.」
Masumi is a local sake from the Nagano prefecture, but somehow it was sold at a supermarket in Gunma, so Kazura bought it.
Kazura wasn’t really that strong in drinking alcohol, so he chose Masumi that was relatively easy to drink.
「Thank you for waiting. This is an alcoholic drink from my country, but can Valin-san drink alcohol?」(Kazura)
「Oow, it’s alcohol! Of course I can drink it!」(Valin)
Hearing the word “alcoholic drink”, the delighted Valin had a very wide smile.
It seemed like he really loved alcoholic drink.
「That’s good. I’m sorry if it doesn’t suit your taste, but how about we drink a little bit first?」(Kazura)
Hearing what Kazura had said, the water inside Valin’s cup was emptied in one gulp.
Kazura opened the bottles cap, made a small smile to Valin who quickly presented his cup, and poured down the sake in an amount just enough for one gulp in the cup.
「Because it will be dangerous if it had undesirable effect on the body, for now please drink only one gulp. If there is no problem then we can continue drinking.」(Kazura)
「Yea, is that so? Them just one gulp..... Hm! This is tasty!!」(Valin)
Valin who taste the sake, he suddenly perceived and thought highly of the taste with great joy.
「Oh, is it tasty? Then that’s good. Well then, let’s observe if there is a chance for awhile.」
Kazura said this while withdrawing the bottle. Valin had an expression of someone who completely dissatisfied.
「No, I’m fine. Absolutely fine. I’m certainly fine so then please another cup....」(Valin)
「....... Uuuh....」 (Valin)
Valin became sulky after being flatly denied by Valetta’s words. Seeing this spectacle, Kazura who frantically endured the urge to burst into laughter, distracted himself by drinking herb tea.
「By the way, what kind of alcoholic drink is drunk in this village?」
The one who answered Kazura’s question was Valetta instead of Valin who was staring at the bottle beside Kazura.
「Although I don’t drink alcohol since I will feeling sick after just drinking a little, there is an alcoholic drink that’s gentle and has a good smell. If it’s a festival, then everyone will drink the ones that are purchased from the city.」(Valetta)
「Yes, although it’s different from alcoholic drink that Kazura brought, the alcohol that we drink isn’t white colored. This is also tastier. In addition, I heard about alcoholic drinks that are made from fruit that consumed by the nobles.」(Valin)
Kazura nodded in comprehension about their stories.
Though he had already thought that this world also had alcoholic beverages, it appeared that unrefined alcoholic drink and brewed liquor did exist.
As to what had been describe before, Kazura was not really strong in drinking alcohol, but if there was an opportunity he liked to taste a gulp of them.
「I see, if there is an opportunity I’d like to taste a gulp.」(Kazura)
「Yes, if that time comes, certainly Kazura-san could drink it..... Then, is the time good now? One more cup.....」 (Valin)
Thus, Kazura saw Valetta and Valin arguing back and forth like this that was repeating about every minute until the 60th times. At the last moment when Valin was getting teary eyes, the ban was lifed. Now, Valin finally could be able to receive a half cup of sake.
However, while seeing Valin drinking sake delightfully,....
「(I think half a cup is enough, after this let’s wait for about 2 hours.)」(Kazura)
Kazura had decided to set this devilishly long interval, but Valin, who was entranced by sake, didn’t know about this.
Don’t expect too much action. Please remember that this is a Slice of Life story after all...
ANNOUNCEMENT FROM TRANSLATOR YUKKURI ONIISAN:
Also, I want to make an announcement: I have one week long out of town assignment from Wednesday, 14 October 2015 to Tuesday, 20 October 2015. So no translation on this time period.
I will resume the usual translation on Wednesday, 21 October 2015.
If I’m lucky, I can finish it on Friday or Saturday. So cross your fingers.
So, until then, I’m sorry for the inconvenience.
Oh yeah. I don’t intent to drop any translations; I only went out of town for one week.... So don’t worry.
 The original Japanese raw use “X tenths” term or X/10, not percentage or x/100. Since percentage had been known since Ancient Rome, let’s just go with this until it contradict the raw.
 フライス Furaisu ➔ Fraise
 クレイラッツ kureirattsu ➔ Craylutz
 *cue drum beat* Kazura!!! *cue end*
 Hey, wait a minute, etc. In other words, an interjection used to attract attention from conversation partner
 貴方 or 貴男Anata: Dear, an endearing way for a wife to refer a husband
 It’s “Rucola” for the Italian reader, “Rocket” for UK English reader, “Roquette” for the French reader. It’s latin name is Eruca sativa.
 Giggling laughing sound.
 YOU WERE RIGHT! Reading Japanese IS hard....
 Hoo... Boy... The Real Label read: 真澄―純米大吟醸. 真澄 = Masumi: Perfectly clear, crystal clear. This is the Brand Name. 純米大吟醸 = Junmai Daiginjou, Pure Rice, Very Special Brew: A type of特定名称酒 Tokutei Meishoushu or Special designation sake. read this for more information about sake designation.
 It’s real sake made by Miyasaka Brewing Company (宮坂醸造株式会社). Click here for more information: www.masumi.co.jp/english/. I read that you can buy it in USA (somewhere), if you are interested in trying. I wonder if Susukinokuro-sensei will get paid for this sake endorsement.